22 February 2008
MADRID – French lender Crédit Agricole said Thursday it had been given the go-ahead by the Bank of Spain to raise its stake in Bankinter to 29.99 percent.
The central bank also gave Crédit Agricole leave to proceed with the purchase of a 14.99-percent stake in the medium-sized Spanish bank for EUR 809 million from Indian-born businessman Ramchand Bhavnani. The deal was agreed in November 2007.
Crédit Agricole already held 4.75 percent of Bankinter, whose shares led the blue-chip Ibex 35 index higher yesterday with a gain of 5.58 percent to EUR 10.02. The French lender agreed to pay Bhavnani EUR 13.6 per share.
The French bank’s foray into Bankinter prompted leading shareholder and former chairman Jaime Botín to also seek permission from the Bank of Spain to increase his stake to 29.99 percent from 16.3 percent. The central bank has yet to rule on that request. Crédit Agricole said it wanted to establish a "constructive and lasting dialogue with other Bankinter shareholders and the bank’s management."
[Copyright EL PAÍS / A. SIM 2008]
Subject: Spanish news